Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birthday Cake

It's no secret that I love baking. I like combining different flavors and seeing what happens. The only thing I like better is eating something delicious after I baked it (especially if I was unsure of the outcome prior to tasting said creation). And I'm getting pretty good at it, because I have both a major sweet tooth and an aversion to store-bought baked goods.*
So of course when Ethan's birthday came around, I had to make the cake myself. Shockingly, this is the first cake I've baked since our wedding cake! Not to worry, I've made like twenty pies over the last few months, as well as Christmas cookies, quick breads, brownies, and home-made hot fudge sauce. But since I hadn't made a cake in so long, I wanted to try something new and exciting. I ended up combining a Banana cake from the Austin Junior League cookbook Necessities And Temptations with a coconut-pecan filling from The New Best Recipe Cookbook and topping it all with whipped cream frosting.

And it was the biggest cake of all time. Seriously. I baked it in 2 9" round pans, but the layers were so thick I ended up splitting them in half. The cake was about 6-7 inches tall and felt like it weighed about 15-20 lbs.

The inside:

Recipe for Banana Cake:
1 cup butter, room temp
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 very ripe mashed bananas
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups all purpose flour

preheat oven to 325; grease and flour 2 9 inch round pans or 3 8 inch round pans. (I used 9 inch)
Cream together butter and sugar.
add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
beat in bananas
mix baking soda with sour cream; add to banana mixture
add flour and mix well.
bake 25-45 minutes (longer if using 2 nine inch pans, shorter if using 3 8 inch pans; also, may want to decrease temp slightly if using 9 inch pans)
Cook in pans on wire racks for 10 mins; then let cool solo on wire racks.

Recipe for Coconut Pecan filling:
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
2 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut

Mix egg yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. beat in butter, then gradually add cream and vanilla into mixture. pour into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is puffy and thickened (180 degrees). pour into medium bowl and allow to cool slightly. add pecans and coconut.

Recipe for whipped cream frosting:
beat heavy cream until it becomes whipped cream, then beat some more so it becomes very THICK whipped cream. add vanilla extract and powdered sugar to taste.

To assemble: split cake layers in half with a long sharp knife (two short rounds rather than one tall one). use one layer, 1/3 of filling, second layer, another 1/3 of filling, third layer, last 1/3 of filling, 4th layer, cover the whole thing with frosting.

*My exception to the no store-bought baked goods is the Berry Chantilly from Whole foods, in sheet cake form. I can eat that until it gives me a belly ache.

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